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Fear and Loathing at the
Lake County Film Festival:
A Tale From The Competition Trenches

by David B. Grelck

Under the wire. Past the due date (which was yesterday.) Oh, sure, my first two articles were fine. Short, terse, to the point. The kind of reviewer/writer you'd want to have on your staff. This one's different, though. This one's a monster. And as of right now, it's late.

So, having completed two of the three requisite articles to be considered for a staff writer position here at MFM, I made a proposal: A Hunter Thompson-ian journey to the center of a film festival where I'm in competition. It'd be an opus. Straight to the heart of the film festival dream.

fig. a

As I've never been a journalist (see fig. a) -- not even a little bit -- I can only go by copying others. And other than the hard hitting political journalism I only now read because I'm hopelessly obsessed with this damned election, I don't even really know how they generally go. As one can see from my opening paragraphs, the beginning of the article isn't even about the festival. It's about ME. That's Gonzo if I've ever seen it. It's about me, in the trenches of The Fifth Annual Lake County Film Festival as a filmmaker in competition; a filmmaker who, it turns out, did not take home the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature. Whoa, spoiled the ending there for ya, in the first paragraph even. No hard hitting journalist in the world would do that. So in my search for meaning, style and voice as a journalist, I turned to the Good Doctor. Which is why I shamelessly borrow a turn of phrase from him as the title of this missive. This isn't a review of the festival per se. Or even really a review of the films within (though I may do that for some). It's a meditation.

And anyone who knows my writing knows that a meditation can only mean one thing: WARNING, there be rambling ahead.

Mike Noens, the producer who's name sits next to mine on the White Out poster (see fig. b ) (and the film, don'tcha know) is late for the opening night festivities, leaving me alone to fend for myself at my first film festival. No worries though, I'm certainly not afraid. It's only the first time White Out is screening beyond my own back yard. I guess it's Lake County, so it's technically the same general neck of the woods, we're surely not into "Here Thar Be Tygres" territory yet, but it ain't family and friends at a local screening. Not no more. Two days and counting until my film screens. Saturday. For that, I AM afraid. Well, not afraid. Apprehensive.

fig. b

What if no one comes?

What if it's just me sitting there alone in the dark, getting a phone call from many who can't make it offering up their paper thin excuses and apologies at the last moment? There's a thought. For now, there are shorts followed by Nosferatu, the granddaddy of vampire flicks with a brand spanking new score. The handful of audience members call out shorts requests based on the vague descriptions in the program.

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